ACBAR’s 152 International and National NGO members are deeply saddened by the attack on Dasht-e Barchi Hospital in Kabul on 12th May 2020 which killed 24 civilians, including two NGO medical staff, and wounded at least 19 others. Attacks such as this on unarmed men, women and children – including newborns - are unjust, senseless and brutal, even more so at a time when the population are observing the rituals of the month of Ramadan and dealing with the challenges that COVID-19 has brought to their lives.
NGOs are committed to the humanitarian principles, serving and protecting the life and health of the communities and populations in need of their support, while remaining neutral, impartial and independent. Three NGOs have been engaged in supporting the hospital for many years, providing essential medical services – including maternal healthcare - to save and protect lives. A hospital is a place of sanctuary for patients to be treated, even more so, in a country that has one of the most fragile health systems in the world. Instead, on the 12th May, Dasht-e Barchi hospital became a target for violence and a battleground.
ACBAR members are calling again for all actors in the conflict to respect civilians and aid workers and to ensure that all public buildings – schools, clinics, mosques, NGO offices – must be protected and must not become targets. Such attacks are clear violations of International Humanitarian Law. ACBAR members also strongly urge all parties to halt all hostilities and to push ahead peace negotiations ending this long and painful war. It is time for Afghans to look ahead and to rebuild their lives within an environment of lasting stability and peace.
In 2019, the United Nations recorded 10,392 civilian casualties in Afghanistan of which 12% were women and 30% were children. During the same period, 32 NGO staff members were killed and 55 wounded.
ACBAR Steering Committee